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Ioan Gruffudd - Biography

The Hornblower and Harrow star also known for his role in James Cameron's Titanic was born in 1973

Ioan Gruffudd smiling at a red carpet event
Hannah Watkin
Content Writer
Updated: 6 July 2023
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Born in Cardiff on October 6, 1973, Ioan Gruffudd is the eldest son of two schoolteachers. Perhaps best known for his roles as Daniel Harrow in ABC's Harrow, Harold Lowe in James Cameron's Titanic, and as Mr Fantastic in the 2005 Fantastic Four film, the Welsh actor began performing at an early age. 

Career beginnings

While being educated at the Welsh medium schools Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Aberdar and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf, Ioan competed as a singer in the traditional Welsh arts-focused Eisteddfod competition, both at school and at a national level. Aged 16, he landed his first acting gig in the long-running Welsh soap opera Pobol y Cwm, and from there it was simply a matter of time before he packed his bags and headed for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. 

After graduation, the young Welshman made a few minor TV and theatre appearances before landing the lead in a 1996 big screen adaptation of the Poldark saga. Small roles in Hollywood films soon followed, as he joined the cast of James Cameron's Titanic and Julian Mitchell's Wilde in 1997. Another big break came a year later, when he won the title role in Hornblower, a mini-series based on CS Forrester's novel about the adventures of an 18th-century naval captain. His performance received an excellent reception from the critics, and his status as a leading man was confirmed. 

Further success

Despite his successful move to LA, the actor did not leave his Welsh background behind. In 1999 he took time out from starring in Hollywood productions to work on the Solomon and Gaenor, a story of anti-Semitism in 1911 Wales. The film, which starred his fellow countryman and rising talent Nia Roberts as well as Maureen Lipman, was made in two versions, one entirely in Welsh, and the other in English, Welsh and Yiddish. For his performance, the already biligual actor learned Yiddish, showing a dedication to the role which doubtless helped earn the work its best foreign film Oscar nomination.

Returning to Hollywood, Ioan later starred in the Fantastic Four franchise, the 2004 film King Arthur, and took the role of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2008's W. Ioan has since also had numerous significant roles in television including is the CW series Ringer, in the ABC drama Forever, and in the ITV series Liar. 

Personal life

While working on Disney's live action retelling of 101 Dalmatian's sequel film, 102 Dalmatians, Ioan met his future wife, fellow actress Alice Evans, as the two starred as its two romantic leads. Alice and Ioan married in 2007, seven years after their first meeting.

The couple welcomed two daughters, Ella and Elsie, who were born in 2009 and 2013 respectively. The pair announced their separation in January 2021, before Ioan later filed for divorce. Since 2021, Ioan has been publicly in a relationship with Bianca Wallace. Alice has alleged the couple were having an affair prior to their split in 2021. 

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